Bail is a written undertaking that a person signs promising to appear in court on a specified date. Bail may also include additional conditions, such as reporting to a police station on certain days, living at a certain address or surrender one’s passport. It is a condition of all bail undertakings that the person does not commit any further offences while on bail. The law governing bail in Queensland is the Bail Act (Qld).

There are two main types of bail in Queensland: watch-house bail and court bail. Watch-house bail is granted by the police, whereas court bail is granted by a judge or magistrate.

Watch-house bail is typically granted when a person is arrested and charged with an offence. Once they sign the bail undertaking, the police will release them. They must then attend court on the date stated on the bail undertaking and comply with any further conditions of their release. The person is entitled to remain in the community until their court appearance, at which time they may apply to have their bail enlarged or varied.

Court bail, on the other hand, is granted when the police refuse to grant watch-house bail. In this case, the person may apply to the court to grant them bail. If court bail is granted while the person is still in police custody, the police must release them once they sign the bail undertaking. It is worth noting that it may take a few hours for the person to be released in this situation.

When deciding whether to grant bail, the court will consider a number of factors, including the type and seriousness of the offence the person has been charged with, the strength of the evidence against them, their criminal record, and whether they have failed to appear for court dates in the past. The court will also consider whether the person has a stable place to live and whether they have a job, as well as whether they have any children and whether they have someone to provide a surety (a sum of money to the court that will be forfeited if the person breaches bail).

Additionally, the court will consider whether the person is capable of fleeing and whether they are likely to do so, as well as whether they pose a danger to other people or are likely to interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice. The court will also take into account any concerns raised by the police or prosecution regarding the person’s release on bail.

A court is required to grant a person bail unless the Prosecution is able to prove that there is an unacceptable risk of the person reoffending. There are exceptions to this rule. A person may be required to “show-cause” before they are granted bail. This means the burden is on the defendant to satisfy the court that they are not an unacceptable risk.

There are several situations that could put you in a “show cause” position, including (but not limited to):

  • Being charged with a serious offence while on bail for another serious offence
  • Using or threatening to use a weapon when committing an offence
  • Being charged with an offence against the Bail Act (e.g. failing to appear in court)
  • Being charged with an offence against control order provisions or an offence of breaching a public safety order
  • Being charged with an offence of threatening a law enforcement officer while they are investigating the activities of a criminal organisation
  • Being charged with choking, suffocation, or strangulation in a domestic setting under the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld)
  • Being charged with an offence punishable by a maximum penalty of at least 7 years imprisonment if the offence is also a domestic violence offence
  • Being charged with certain offences against the Criminal Code Act 1899, including (but not limited to) threatening violence, stalking, or deprivation of liberty if the offence is also a domestic violence offence
  • Being charged with breaching a domestic violence order and the offence involved violence (or threatened or attempted violence) to a person or property, or if you have been convicted of other certain offences within a specific period in the past.

If the magistrate refuses to grant bail following an application, the charged person cannot reapply in the Magistrates Court, unless they are able to demonstrate a material change in circumstances. This is why proper legal representation at the time of making a bail application is crucial.

If a person is refused bail in the Magistrates Court, they may apply for Supreme Court bail.

If a person is issued with a Notice to Appear or a Complaint and Summons requiring them to appear in court and their matter is adjourned to be heard on another day, the court will often order that they sign a bail undertaking requiring them to appear at the next court date. If this occurs, the person cannot leave the courthouse until they sign the bail undertaking. To do so would be an offence and may result in a warrant being issued for their arrest. In this case, the person may have to wait outside a designated sign-out room until their name is called, and their undertaking is prepared.

It is not uncommon for a matter to be adjourned at the first mention, even if the offence is minor. If their matter is adjourned to another court date for any reason, they may request the court to enlarge their bail to that date and time. This allows them to remain in the community while their case is ongoing. If a person’s bail is merely enlarged and not altered in any way, they will not need to sign a new bail undertaking. Instead, they will be subject to the same conditions as the original bail undertaking until their next court date, at which time their bail may be enlarged again.

At Bazzi Law, we’ll ensure no stone is left unturned in preparing your bail application. Call us today for a free consultation.